What Is an IR Camera on a Laptop And Its Uses

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Laptops have lots of complicated components. It’s normal to not know a lot about them. But learning about these components can be useful. Because sometimes laptops have components that you might be unaware of. And you should familiarize yourself with them as much as you can. One component that you might be a little confused about would be the IR camera. This is a component that has been discussed quite widely. It’s definitely generated a lot of hype. But, what exactly is it?

The Facts About IR Cameras

ir camera staring at lego figure

The first step to understanding what this camera type involves breaking down the acronym that is IR. IR in this instance stands for infrared. So your IR camera is just a camera that uses infrared technology. Infrared has been used in tech for a really long time and is a great way to calculate depth. TV remotes were once the primary way in which IR was used in everyday life. But now IR cameras in laptops are starting to become a mainstay. They have lots of uses which can benefit you. These uses are described in detail below.

Uses of IR Cameras in Laptops

The primary use for an infrared camera is facial recognition. This can sound a bit dystopian to some. But rest assured that it is meant for the most basic of purposes.

Microsoft has rolled out a new feature called Microsoft Hello. It’s a way for you to unlock your laptop without having to put a password in. As well as avoiding fingerprint scanners.

Microsoft is trying to make unlocking your laptop to a whole other level with this feature and it needs an infrared camera to do so.

IR cameras work in conjunction with the regular webcam as well as a separate infrared laser. This helps the laptop determine how far away you are and simultaneously capture the finer details of your face. This security feature is actually quite high end. In fact, the US military has started using it on its computers. Partly because they wanted to standardize the operating systems used across their various computers but also due to the enhanced security that an IR camera can provide.

You might assume that facial recognition in your laptop is bad for your personal security and privacy. But the truth is that it actually helps keep you a lot safer.

It is important to note that this facial recognition technology is similar to what phones have been using.

Phones have had facial recognition tech for a few years now. So it’s not exactly a brand new technology. It’s just that it hasn’t been used in laptops prior to last year. This is why some people are confused about it. And some might also be concerned about what purpose it serves. But rest assured that it is a highly effective way to keep your system secure. we’ll be going to get into the nitty-gritty of that shortly.

There are other uses as well. Such as capturing gestures and other movements from users. This can help them control their laptop intuitively. As well as aid them in performing various tasks that might not have otherwise been possible.

Infrared cameras can also be useful for 3D printing. You can use the infrared camera to create a 3D model. Because it is perfectly suited to recognizing changes in depth and creating a realistic model.

Certain high-end laptops have added a lot of functionality to IR cameras but, for the most part, their security applications remain the most pertinent.

Why IR Based Facial Recognition is So Secure

ir face recognition

One benefit of IR cameras for facial recognition is that it’s so difficult to hack. Passwords can be brute-forced and Two-factor authentication can be cracked through robo calls and other means. There’s also a chance that a Trojan might steal a lot of your data and post your login details to the dark web.

With facial scanning, the only way a laptop can be hacked is if someone physically holds your face in front of a camera. There is no way to work around this.

Passwords can also be a problem if people forget them. And writing them down defeats the purpose of having a password in the first place. So one can see the benefits of facial recognition.

After all, you can’t very well forget your face somewhere now, can you?

You can also avoid the hassle of having to come up with a unique password. Passwords need to be changed fairly often as well which is another aspect of this process that you can avoid. Even fingerprint scanners are not as secure as facial recognition.

Now, facial recognition is obviously not perfect. Some people have managed to crack it using a wide range of tricks. But none of these tricks involved any kind of technological know-how. Instead, they just tried to trick the facial recognition through wearing a mask or some other kind of lowbrow act. Even these attempts are usually not successful. There is a very low chance that someone can trick a facial recognition camera. This is why so many laptop manufacturers are starting to move towards it these days.

The Future of IR Cameras in Laptops

IR cameras are currently only used for one purpose in laptops but they have a wide range of applications in the real world. Such as, thermal imaging and depth analysis. Both of which can come in handy in a lot of situations.

It’s possible that in the future we might start seeing more powerful infrared cameras in laptops. The functionality is a little limited because the tech has not gotten quite advanced yet. But it is interesting to think of all of the different possibilities that can arise.


How Do IR Cameras Work?

IR cameras detect thermal energy emitted by various objects and convert it into an electronic signal. This signal is then converted back into an image by your laptop, and you can use this to see the heat signature of the objects in your photo. Heat is a form of infrared radiation, and any camera that can detect this radiation would do a decent job of capturing heat output.

Why Does My Laptop Have an IR Camera?

The primary purpose of the IR camera in your laptop is security. Usually, we rely on passwords and codes to secure our laptops and prevent other people from gaining access to them, but the past few decades have shown this to be a flawed system. An IR camera can detect your image and unlock your laptop if it recognizes you. It is a lot more difficult to hack than a regular password, and combined with other forms of authentication; it can make your laptop impossible to access illicitly.

Are There Any Other Uses for an IR Camera?

External IR cameras are used in scientific research, among other things, but the one on your laptop is not powerful enough for that. That said, it might improve in the future and become capable of all sorts of things!

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